When SESP first-year Tyler Moyer was in high school, he was a little embarrassed of his stuffed animals. He would make sure to move them off his bed during Zoom classes so no one would see them. But now, he has three proudly displayed on his dorm bed.

“I’ve come full circle very quickly because who cares?” Moyer said. “They’re great. They’re sentimental, they’re important.”

The three stuffed animals Moyer has on his bed are gifts from his mom. He said the two of them have a strong connection, and she often sends him gifts or messages.

“Her love language is gifting, which is something I haven’t verbally expressed, but it makes total sense,” Moyer said. “She’s very empathetic, very kind. We have a very strong relationship.”

Each stuffed animal reminds him of a different time, from the velcro-armed bear to the wolf with a carrot in its mouth (named Turnip) to the Northwestern bear his mom bought him during Wildcat Welcome. He said he’s grateful to her for helping him feel less isolated with these gifts.

“I think stuffed animals are like emotional sponges,” Moyer said. “We have them on our bed, maybe some people sleep with them, maybe some people put them on their desks, but there’s always some connection there.”

See the other stuffed animals!